Having trouble with vasectomy, please help

I am new here and this is my first question, bear with me please.

My husband and I were both raised Catholic, got married in the Church and have 3 children. I did take the Pill early on, in denial of the Church’s teachings I suppose. We then did NFP between our children and after our last we discussed and discussed and my husband had a vasectomy. But I take full blame as well…it was not his decision alone. We have since beat ourselves up over it, we felt like we knew the ‘rules’ and slapped God in the face. It is terrible! We went to confession TOGETHER, did the penance and geez, don’t really feel better. The priest told us that if we were truly sorry that we were forgiven. He said it was not required to have the prodecure reversed. He said we could do NFP anyway, but that was not required either. I supposed we both feel like we get to ‘have our cake and eat it too.’ We did not go to confession only because of fear of hell, we were truly sorry to have broken God’s rules. But now…it seems too easy. Almost like ‘oopsie, we are sorry, we are forgiven…hooray, now back to what we want to do.’ Isn’t that almost throwing God’s forgiveness in His face?

We have stressed and worried about this for almost a year…can anyone give us some insight? Thank you so much.

The sin has been forgiven. One trick of the devil is to make you feel that it could not have been forgiven, to put that doubt on you both. I think to doubt God’s forgiveness would be more of a negative action towards him.

Rejoice! You have a unique understanding of how massive and truly gratuitous God’s mercy truly is. I would say that the anxiety that you are feeling is mostly out of a profound insight into humility. Humility is being able to see oneself in proper relation to others especially to God. The discomfort may be fully coming to terms with the abyss of his mercy. It is like standing at the edge of a tremendous subterranean cavern or looking to to the sea for the first time. It is an uncomfortable feeling, a feeling that there is nothing that you can do that will compare with the vastness of the reality that is presenting itself to you. As the psalms say, “Who can climb the mountain of the Lord, who can stand in his holy place.?” You are being given a great gift in being able to glance at the complete insufficiency of the human response to God. You might even be considering whether you yourselves would be so forgiving with so little demands in return. God’s mercy is … an ineffable reality.

That being said, you can, if you like make whatever sort of recompense you would like to offer as a penance or in thanksgiving. For instance, as the priest noted, a reversal or continuing the practice of NFP pro forma is not required of you; but, you can do them. You are always free to do more than what is required – you can, in fact, go the extra mile. In other words, you can practice heroic virtue. This is also a great grace. God has provide you an opportunity to participate in the type of virtue that makes a saint a Saint. God has granted his mercy, your response is your choice. I would suggest taking advantage of the opportunities that are being placed at your feet.

If your children did something wrong, wouldn’t you forgive them even before they repented and certainly after…you want them to flourish, to live in God’s love, to trust in God.
So much more is this true for your loving Father in Heaven.

Remind yourselves of Jesus’ parable of the forgiving Father:

Suggest you look into Christian Foundation for Children and Aging ( CFCA) located in Kansas City. You can sponsor a child and provide a monthly stipend toward that childs needs, to include college tuition as they grow older and qualify for college.
You can support a child or two in place of those you may have had. A surrogate adoption if you will.

I know a deacon, an usher, a KOC and good half dozen other Catholic gents who’ve all had vasectomies. None of them regret or apologize for it. I’m going to have to ask how they make that decision work.

Here is where you’re wrong, I suppose. How are you feeling? Is what you are going through easy by any means? I doubt it.

I have regrets in my own life similar to this. We are indeed both forgiven, but a consequence of sin is regret. We will always carry that regret, but we can be joyful in spite of it.

Find joy in your life, and thank God that he has forgiven you. Being forgiven doesn’t mean that our response to guilt is completely done away with. I suppose that is one joy of heaven - we won’t carry our regrets anymore.

I am in a similar situation. I had 3 high risk pregnancies and almost died twice. The last one took over a year to recover to the point that I could care for my children myself, but have lifelong health problems due to the stress on my body. My doctors told us to not have another child, because I probably wouldn’t make it through another pregnancy. We went to a priest who told us we couldn’t use birth control even if a doctor recommended it. My heart was broken because I had always looked forward to a house full of children, and I was afraid I would get pregnant and then be told I would have to abort to save my own life. And I would NEVER do that, even if I was dying, I would protect my child even if it meant I would die. My husband didn’t want to have me die and leave the kids motherless and him a single parent. We argued a lot about what to do. He said he didn’t care and went to get a vascectomy. But he was unable to get one without my signature. I didn’t want him to do it, but he scheduled it and said I would have to sign the paper. When we were at the hospital, I cried when they brought in the paper to be signed. I didn’t want to sign it, but felt so pressured and backed into a corner. I sobbed when they took my husband and said goodbye to all the children I would never have and asked God to forgive me. This was over decades ago, and I just recently confessed it. I didn’t tell the reasons behind it, just confessed it. The priest didn’t really say anything about it or ask me any questions. I do now ( and always have) regretted it. I wonder about the children we were supposed to have and also wonder if it is still a sin to have sex…even though I am way through menopause. The priest said nothing about it. So, I guess I just want to tell you, I understand the guilt.

If you are feeling that convicted, I’d ask if the sterilization can be reversed. I know nothing of how it is done nor of how successful the procedure is but I have heard of men having it reversed.

Julian0404 brings up a good point. Your lack of children puts you in a position to be able to help others in some way and perhaps this is what you are called to do. The money and time which would have been spent on children who were not born could be applied elsewhere.

Just a thought.


You are fogiven in the Catholic Church’s eyes. I recommend that you still pray for forgivness:gopray:

Wow, thank you so much everyone. I’m really feeling so much better reading your responses. I suppose it is hard to believe that God would be so forgiving, but He is so much bigger than anything humans can know.

I was hoping that all this stressing was in vain, and when my husband and I would talk to a priest we would leave feeling much better, then that doubt would creep back in. Now I realize that perhaps that was the devil like Johnny K said.

Thank you, thank you so much, I have read and taken to heart each of your posts. I welcome any other feedback as well.

I would like to know…in mosher’s signature…what is SPND?

Welcome, Onthejourney1! We’re glad you’re here.

I want to tell you a very sad story that will highlight for you the great gift of grace you have been given with your true and sincere repentance following the vasectomy. I once worked for a doctor who had seven children, and the next to last child had a serious birth defect. His wife took their faith very seriously and would have nothing to do with any kind of birth control, even natural family planning. She trusted God completely. He, on the other hand, was very worried about financial matters and the possibility of having another baby with a problem because of his wife’s age. He went on his own for a vasectomy, which caused all kinds of marital problems to surface. He approached his urologist colleagues to ask them how successful the reversal operation was. If it had a high enough failure rate, he would consider a reversal to keep his wife quiet and his marriage together. He was ready to take the risk of surgery and spend the money on the reversal, but ONLY IF it would not work. I guess the odds were too good that the procedure would be successful, because he did not do it. The story ends with a very messy divorce and the loss of the doctor’s private practice.

Contrast this to your own story. You two have so much true contrition, such a sadness about having offended your father God, that you are willing to do almost anything to make things right. What a blessing that is!

May I just give a bit of a suggestion. Instead of spending the money and taking the risk of reversal surgery, could you take the out of pocket expenses you would have for this procedure and donate it to help some children or families in poverty, or to educate folks on marital chastity, or whatever your heart is drawn to. Then, if you still felt the need for penance, you could apply the NFP rules to your own marriage until the end of the childbearing years. That way, there would be lots of benefit to spread around.

Of course, none of these are required of you. That awful feeling of having your cake and eating it can be a good penance in itself and a reminder of God’s great generosity and unconditional forgiveness. It would probably be a very good thing to discuss your options with a very holy priest to see which course of action would be the best for your own souls. If you’re in Baltimore, PM me and I’ll give you a name. :slight_smile:

God bless you. You are such an inspiration.


It is the latin acronym for the phrase, In Our Holy Father Dominic. It is a traditional manner of ending a letter for Religious. Of course they reference their founder instead of St. Dominic.

I want to go out on a limb and suggest that even if the priest didn’t know it at the time it was good advice telling you to not use contraceptive methods for avoiding pregnancy for health reasons. First, barrier methods are quite faulty and would not be sufficient to preserve your health. Second, chemical contraceptives do horrible things to a woman’s body and many of them a actually abortifacients and not really contraceptives.

Not being the one who spoke to you all those years ago I don’t know what I would have suggested. However, the measures that you and your husband took were most likely the correct ones. Some would disagree with me on this (and I’m open to correction because it is an open debate at the moment) but vasectomy and tubal ligation are characterized as acts of self-mutilation. That sounds pretty bad but it is not always bad. An amputation or transplant or even permanent tattoos fall under this category of actions. It seems to me that acts of self-mutilation as a genre are not objectively evil actions. What this means is that some forms of self-mutilation are evil and some are not evil. I would suggest to you that in your particular circumstance the latter fits your case. Take heart! You were not engaging in this form of self-mutilation for contraceptive reasons. Rather, it seems to me that this was done for the sake of the grave obligation of self-preservation. Your sorrow over the action is evident of that being the case. Even if it were judged that such an act was always morally evil I would suggest that your level of responsibility for the evil would be highly mitigated considering the circumstances. God is loving and merciful, he will shed that love and mercy upon you if you are acting in good faith.

coco2 and baltobetsy: Thank you very much for opening up and sharing such troubling stories. I am already amazed at the sharing that goes on here.

coco2, you had a very tough thing to endure indeed, such choices to be made. But I think the good thing here is, you didn’t use your health condition as an excuse in your mind to justify the vasectomy, you still wanted to do what was right for God…that is amazing love!! You are very strong!

baltobetsy, also a very sad story, one that could have ended so differently. And thank you very much for offering to give me a name but I am not in the Baltimore area, I have been there though, and loved it!!

And to everyone else, I came here not knowing what to expect, not knowing if I would be told I’d better do something quick because I was in dire shape and on my way to hell or what but instead I’ve been told I’m an inspiration and understand humility. Wow. I think the Lord led me here so maybe I could get some answers and move past this.

As the priest said to you if you are truly sorry you are forgiven.
Only you and God know if you are truly sorry. If you are then move on with your life.

On the one hand, confessed sins ARE forgiven, gone, past, behind you. On the other hand, contrition IS a required element for confession to be valid and if you are still in some part of yourself secretly gleeful that you have a “unshackled sex” pass now, it CAN still cause you problems.

Remember that sins aren’t arbitrary. Contraception isn’t sinful just because Father says so, but beause it genuinely has a destructive impact on the couple’s mutually self giving sexual relationship. It can be hard to tell if you are free of that attitude or not.

Although absolutely not morally required on the level of principle, it can be practical to introduce some form of self mortification to counteract the potential for a contraceptive attitude to take hold in your relationship in your circumstances. Perhaps simply pick some particular days each cycle in which you absolutely abstain for the sake of penance and maintenance of the recognition that sex was a gift from God intended to be given, not indulged in. IIRC, the eastern orthodox have sexual fasting principles that you may find helpful to adopt as a penitential offering to God. In whatever form it takes, use those sacrifices to remind you to remember that sex is about giving, not getting.

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